Rick Warren got a lot of attention for his interview with Russell Moore of Christianity Today in which he defended ordaining female pastors. While insisting that he was not compromised by worldly ideology, he made connection early on between the MeToo agenda in the church and would ultimately argue that it would be racist for the Southern Baptist Convention to exclude feminist churches. Andy Wood sent an unlisted video to his church audience which we obtained via tip that also attempts to make a case for women pastors. How do they stack up? Not well.
The Great Commission
19 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
Matthew 28:19-20 NASB1995
Rick Warren uses this passage on evangelism to apply it to church governance. He states that by denying women ordination, only half of Christians are able to fulfill the Great Commission. Rick Warren’s argument is inconsistent, as he bloviates about how he has empowered all in his church to fulfill the Great Commission, stating that if you bring someone to Christ, you get to baptize them at Saddleback. If this is the case, that the Great Commission applies to the ordained clergy and the layman alike, how does this substantiate a case for female pastors.
For these men are not drunk, as you suppose, for it is only the third hour of the day; 16 but this is what was spoken of through the prophet Joel:
17 ‘And it shall be in the last days,’ God says,
‘That I will pour forth of My Spirit on all mankind;
And your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,
And your young men shall see visions,
And your old men shall dream dreams;
Acts: 2:15-17 NASB1995
Rick Warren furthermore argues that women were preaching at Pentecost citing Acts 2 where the believers spoke in tongues to communicate the gospel. The verse is not speaking of delivering a sermon, as the passage shows us that Peter did. It’s a complete nonsequitur to extrapolate female pastors from this text.
5 The angel said to the women, “[a]Do not be afraid; for I know that you are looking for Jesus who has been crucified. 6 He is not here, for He has risen, just as He said. Come, see the place where He was lying. 7 Go quickly and tell His disciples that He has risen from the dead; and behold, He is going ahead of you into Galilee, there you will see Him; behold, I have told you.”
Matthew 28:5-7 NASB1995
Rick Warren erroneously calls Mary Magdalene delivering a message the first sermon in church history. Good news was delivered, but this is more akin to a courier than a pastor of a church. That’s not to diminish what happened here and how Mary Magdalene being chosen to be witness glorifies God. This simply doesn’t substantiate a case for female pastors especially as she did not have a role in church leadership going forward.
These are Rick Warren’s arguments and they fall flat on their faces. Andy Wood makes a more compelling case, admittedly, but it requires a closed Bible to believe.
Andy Wood’s Followup
11 And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, 12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ;
Ephesians 4:11-12 NASB1995
This passage is Andy Wood’s operating thesis as he attempt to explain that women served as apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers in the New Testament.
7 Greet Andronicus and Junias, my kinsmen and my fellow prisoners, who are outstanding among the apostles, who also were in Christ before me.
Romans 16:7 NASB1995
Citing Junia in Romans 16 (note: the popular consensus is the feminine Junia as opposed to the masculine Junias), Wood explains that Junia was a female apostle. This runs into multiple brick walls. As the NASB1995 demonstrates, it’s disputed whether Junia was a woman is disputed. And whether she was an apostle even more so with most translations more clearly, than the NASB1995, indicating otherwise. And since the age of apostles is over, this would not serve as a sufficient argument for female pastors.
He then cites women prophesying in Scripture, which isn’t a
I commend to you our sister Phoebe, who is a servant of the church which is at Cenchrea; 2 that you receive her in the Lord in a manner worthy of the saints, and that you help her in whatever matter she may have need of you; for she herself has also been a helper of many, and of myself as well
Romans 16:1-2 NASB1995
Based on this passage Wood argues that Phoebe was a pastor, teacher.
Additionally, Priscilla and Aquila are used to justify women pastors. Priscilla and Aquila are mentioned together as they are a married couple in the church who show the important role that women played in the early church. Helping to correct and Apollos in Acts 18:26 as a couple and hosting a church in Romans 16:3 doesn’t established that they even elders of that church.
Paul vs Paul
Andy Wood ultimately argues that 1 Timothy 2, Paul is arguing that women can be pastors but not elders for that would be usurping a man’s authority. The role of an elder is to teach the Word, but Andy Wood argues with much sophistry that man can delegate authority and roles given to us by God. By Wood’s logic, a woman can run a household if the husband delegates his authority. So also, church elders can delegate their authority to women.
Rick Warren and Andy Wood argue that this is not an issue to split a denomination over, but it is one that can divide a church. Andy Wood acknowledges this decision will drive people away. One must wonder, if you are a genuine Christian at Saddleback Church, where yet might they be struck?